Grameen Foundation Appoints Regional CEO for Africa and New Director of the Grameen Technology Center

Grameen Foundation has announced the appointment of Norman Buckham as regional CEO for Africa and David Edelstein as the new director of the Grameen Technology Center and vice president of technology programs.  Buckham, who assumes his position on January 1, 2010, will help lead the foundation’s diverse technology and microfinance initiatives across sub-Saharan Africa. Edelstein, who previously served as director of the foundation’s Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Innovation program, will lead the work of its Seattle-based Technology Center.

November 30, 2009 - “Entrepreneurial, mission focused leaders with proven experience tackling big challenges are essential for Grameen Foundation’s long-term success,” said Peter Bladin, Grameen Foundation’s executive vice president for programs and regions.  “Norman and David exemplify this leadership and bring innovative ideas and passion for enabling poor people to benefit from expanded access to financial services and technology.  With deep experience in key regions and outstanding programmatic leadership, Grameen Foundation is well positioned to deepen and broaden our positive impact working with the poor.”

As director of the ICT Innovation program, Edelstein built a program widely recognized for its innovative approaches to using mobile phones to provide vital information and services in poor communities.  Prior to joining Grameen Foundation, he worked at Microsoft and McKinsey & Company where he focused on providing affordable technology products for people in emerging markets and business strategies tailored to the needs of consumers and businesses in developing countries.  He also conducted economic analyses and evaluated public policy with the White House Council of Economic Advisors and Resources For the Future.
Norman Buckham, a South African, brings more than 25 years of experience to Grameen Foundation as its first regional CEO for Africa.  He has worked extensively in commercial banking in southern Africa and has also managed and directed development finance and poverty relief institutions in Mozambique, Swaziland and Zimbabwe.  In addition, he has served as a consultant with microfinance institutions in a number of African and Southeast Asian countries.  Buckham, who will be based in Johannesburg, was most recently CEO of South Africa-based Thembani International Guarantee Fund.
”Over the past eight years the Grameen Technology Center has built an extremely strong foundation and established itself as a leader in using technology as an enabler for development,” said David Edelstein.  “I am thrilled to build upon this base and lead our efforts to create innovative and sustainable approaches to employ technology for the benefit of the world’s poor.”
In welcoming his appointment, Norman Buckham said, “Poor communities are the most innovative, resilient and selfless people with the strongest human bonds, who, despite great odds, manage to improve their lives with minimal amounts of assistance. For me, there is no greater joy than to see the proud faces of poor people as they show the fruits of their labor.” 
These appointments round out an extremely strong executive team, which includes Jennifer Meehan, regional CEO for Asia; Alberto Solano, regional CEO for the Americas; and Camilla Nestor, vice president for microfinance.